How To Build A Following

If you’ve read the first article I wrote, you know “Why A Following Is Important“. Now, let’s talk about how you grow one of your own.

The first step is to start figuring out a way to tell others what you’re passionate about.  It doesn’t have to be huge steps.  Here are some small steps you can take.

0. Don’t be intimidated that people out there are already recognized for your passion, even if they’ve made a name for themselves. That’s life.Jordan-LBJ

Lebron James didn’t pass on a chance to play basketball because Michael Jordan had already won a bunch of championships. You’ll put your own spin on whatever you create, and it’ll have a local flavor unmatched by anyone else. You’ll build on the back of other people’s work.There’s always room for more leaders.

1/2. Don’t be afraid to suck.  When you start, your work is not going to be great. As a famous poet once said “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint – the greats were great because they painted. A lot.”  It’s true. Michelangelo, Picasso, Mozart – all their works got better as they progressed. I often hear people tell me that they started to do something, but gave up because they weren’t good at it. That’s an advantage you’re going to have – you’ll know you suck, but you’ll work to make it better. That person who gave up will be left in your wake.

Keep those two things in mind. Now, on to the actual steps.

new-wordpress-dashboard

1. Start a website or a blog on WordPress. When I first heard about WordPress, I wasn’t interested.  Now, I can’t imagine not using it. It’s a great tool, and although it has it’s downsides, the ability to quickly post content without writing or knowing code is amazing.

2. Start an Instagram account.  If you don’t like to write, that’s ok. Lots of people don’t like to read. You know what people like? Pictures and short videos.  A friend of mine was telling me recently about how she’s done so well with her wedding makeup business.  She’s even been nominated for awards. But I recommended 2 things to her – using an iPhone app to make a short, time-lapse video of herself going through the process of applying makeup to a bride so people can see the amount of effort that goes into making a bride ready for her wedding day – and to post about her award nomination on her website and blog. Instagram video can be a maximum of 15 seconds. People will watch it while they’re in the bathroom.  The nomination will be seen by others who wanted to know more and went to her website and blog.  They’ll have seen the effort she’s putting in to every client, and will be willing to pay more.

3. Start figuring out how you can teach people about your passion, visually, using a story. This is really a continuation of #2, but it applies to other platforms as well. Pick one platform (like Slideshare) and start building. People love stories. Some of my favorite movies are where a character’s backstory is explored in-depth. (Batman Begins and the original Wolverine movie come to mind.)  Catch people up on the basics of what you know visually, and when they want to find out more – who do you think they’ll go to? The person who explained the basics in a way they could understand.

[slideshare id=28507504&doc=slidesharegvtwitterv4-131121175510-phpapp01]

4. Start a YouTube channel. We already talked about how people don’t like to read, but sometimes a 15 second video isn’t long enough. People’s attention spans are short, and video can be a great way to tell a story, teach, or explain things – provided the video is short. I’m a firm believer that under 2 minutes is ideal, and more than 5 minutes is going to result in a video that never gets fully watched.

Challenge yourself with attainable goals. Can you make a YouTube video that gets 50 views? Can you make a different one that gets 100? Can you make a video that people are excited to watch? You might need to learn some new tools (Adobe Premiere Elements or Adobe Premiere come to mind), but that investment of time will be well worth it in the long run.YouTube_logo

These things aren’t easy, and they take time along with hard work.

I’m currently working on a fast track to accomplish some of these results. If it works, I will be sharing the results with you.